He became involved in the industry in the 1950s and then joined forces with the Orkestra RTM for 17 years and received numerous awards. Among the most notable awards is the Merak Kayangan Award [Best Song], the Bintang Malam (1980). The highest appreciation given by the Malaysian music industry to the senior composer is the Seniman Negara Award of 2006, on 20 November 2006. The award was granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail during the Anugerah Seni Negara event in 2006, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism Malaysia or KeKKWa (acronym in Malay language). He also received a RM60,000 cash prize and was appointed to become the official delegate of KeKKWa in national and international forums and seminars.
Dato' Ahmad Nawab is generally known for his signature sunglasses and white suit and usually he will perform a saxophone solo.